• Awesome Online Portland, ME Visual Food Map: http://www.portlandfoodmap.com/
• Novare Res: Great Bier Café w/ Artisan Cheese Plates – We want this in our neighborhood!
• Breakfast: Hot Suppa! – Best Corned Beef Hash Ever!
• Cookbook Bookstore: Rabelais
Over the holidays we headed home to Maine. This gave us the chance to checkout Portland’s foodie claims that attracted our attention in this years Bon Appetit article “Portland, Maine–America’s Foodiest Small Town.” Portland has certainly changed since the last time we visited five years ago with much more than your traditional seafood spots and pubs. There are more local breweries and bakeries, quaint & kitschy cafes that highlight modern takes on comfort food, and creative fine-dining with daily designed menus offering creative interpretations of regional favorites. We also went to a wonderful bier café with a beer list of more than 200 beers along with Maine made Meed as well as featuring great mix and match artisan cheese plates.
The Portland Food Map: This is awesome. It is a visual guide to food and drink in Portland separated by category such as kind of food, bakery, and specialty food shops and so on. When you click on the restaurant name it shows you a rating number as well as a list of the reviews about the restaurant. We are looking forward to every town having one of these.
One of my highlights was the cookbook bookstore Rabelais with books about food, wine, farming, and gardening and we of course we picked up more than our share. For one of our fathers we got a gardening for home brewers book and a canning and cheese-making book for ourselves.
At Hot Suppa! we had to try the Corned Beef Hash. It had so much more meat on it than we’re used to with corned beef hash. The meat was tender and was such a high-quality version and we could quickly tell why it is their flagship meal. We also had the special smoked duck breast sandwich with Gruyere, cranberry chutney, and dressed arugula on foccacia with the great mac and cheese side. The rolled French omelet was light and flavorful with the spinach, tomato, and chevre. It looked like there were lots of young and hip shops in this part of town just a few blocks from the old port.
At the Standard Baking Co. on Commercial Street we tried some of the European breads and pastries. We tried the Stolen bread, Fennel Pepper Crackers, and two suggested pastries. The Stolen was really great and we rationed it throughout the week.
Linda Bean’s Lobster Roll Perfect Maine had just opened and we wanted a lobster roll for lunch. Our mother had found the NYtimes article about the restaurant and we read the controversial aspects about the new fast-food lobster joint and the LL Bean heiress’s plans for its future. We have to say the roll was of a very high quality with lots of big chunks of lobster meat and not the typical mashed up, overly mayonnaise version. The clam chowder was also very tasty. It is essentially a Chipotle or Five Guys style higher-quality quick food lunch spot but we were pleased with the beer selection and tasty food.
Novare Res stole the show for us. We loved the HUGE selection of local and international microbrews and Maine flavored meeds. The bier café even seemed to be a family spot at 4:30-5pm on a Tuesday evening with young couples and their babies meeting friends. The mix-match artisan cheese bar was wonderful with the honey drenched Spanish almonds and chocolate drizzled on the plate. We want Novare Res in our neighborhood!
NY Times Article: “In Portland’s Restaurants, a Down East Banquet“